The missing 26 months stolen from Rachel Berry. If someone is truly your soulmate then something as silly as amnesia shouldn't be able to erase them from your memories. Right?
After Rachel is mugged walking home from the theatre one night, she wakes up three weeks later with a ring on her finger and a certain amber-eyed fireman claiming to be her fiancé. But she doesn't remember him and the doctors say they don't know if and when she'll ever regain her memories. And Finn, being Finn resigns to let her fall in love with him all over again. A collection of one shots of the memories she missed.
Disclaimer: Glee, not mine. A very overactive imagination, I claim it 10 times over.
steal my breath away and confuse the words in my mind
Finn fidgets in the seat beside Puck. He really thinks Kurt is trying to strangle him with the tie he's forced him to wear and the seats are too cramped for his legs and he really wants a beer. But his parents, Puck and Mike are all here for his brother's debut performance so he'll suffer through it if he must.
He flips through the playbill they gave him when they walked in and comes to his brother's picture. He's grinning broadly and under his name and accolades he acknowledges their parents, their glee club and his baby brother who 'despite being the biggest teddy bear ever told him to never give up on something he truly believes in because not believing in yourself is the worst thing you could ever do.' He snorts because everyone believes he's older than Kurt by looks alone, so calling him the baby brother is quite hilarious.
He flips back to the beginning of the playbill and catches sight of a name – Rachel Berry.
He nudges Puck and the man grunts in question.
"This your cousin?" he taps the picture.
He whistles. Puck glares at him and he chuckles. "Dude, she's hot."
"Yea, and I'll break every bone in your body if you even dream of talking her up." Puck's eyes literally glints in ire.
"Relax, dude. I haven't even met her yet."
"Just keep your junk to yourself 's all I'm saying." The other man mutters and turns back towards the stage.
He chuckles and turns his head forward too. Puck could be a downright maniac sometimes.
The lights overhead lower and the stage lights up. People start filing on stage prancing around and chatting and then his stepbrother strides on stage and his mother gasps beside him, one hand clutching his step-father's hand and the other grasping the huge bouquet in her lap.
Kurt's good. He's always been an awesome singer and he's pretty powerful on stage right now. He tries to recline in his seat because even though he's bored out of his mind he can't actually let his mother know that. Beside him Puck and Mike on his other side are seemingly more interested in what's going on on stage and he glances back to see a petite green-skinned woman sitting on a bench.
When she opens her mouth and starts singing his bottom jaw literally falls to the floor. She's… she's…
Shit. He can't think of a word to describe the feeling of his pulse racing, his palm sweaty and his heart thudding in his chest.
All he knows, Rachel Berry is singing.
He's standing beside his parents with his hands shoved in his pockets as they wait for Kurt outside the dressing rooms.
He glances over at Puck who's standing beside two older gentlemen, one holding onto Puck's sister Sarah's hand as they talk. He figures the shorter of the two is Puck's mother's brother; the dark-skinned man is his husband. Sarah stands with a bouquet of flowers, twirling her dress as she waits impatiently for her cousin.
His stomach grumbles and he silently urges Kurt to just hurry up already! He's tall enough to have a perfect view of the dressing room doors and he rejoices internally when they open. People who had performed on stage start coming through and he's practically bouncing on the balls of his feet as he searches for her. And his brother too of course.
Tina, the bubbly Japanese girl Mike's been talking to literally flies out and straight into his friend's arms. Her parents gather around them and he grins, pretty sure Mike will be unavailable for the rest of tonight.
He looks back towards the doors, anxious to see them now.
They exit together, smiling widely and people lingering around the doors start clapping. Rachel does a cute curtsey, and Kurt does one of those beauty queen waves as they make their way towards them.
His mother's smile is wide as she sees Kurt, clutching the flowers to her chest. He grabs them from her before she can squeeze the life out of them, and Burt, his stepfather chuckles. As Rachel and Kurt step closer he wishes he had flowers for her too. Spying the blue orchid at the centre of Kurt's bouquet he slips it out, hiding it behind his back.
Kurt squeals and jumps into Carole's arms and they jump around happily. He looks over them at Burt and the older man just shrugs and grins.
"Sweetie, you were fantastic!" Carole gushes, hugging Kurt tightly. After he disentangles from his stepmother, he turns to his father, who hugs him proudly.
"You were great, son. Proud of you."
Carole grabs the flowers from him as Kurt whirls around to him. "Well, Finn? What'd you think?"
He hugs his brother, lifting him off the ground and the younger man shouts in surprise. "You were awesome bro. Mom cried."
"Oh hush." Their mother chastises as she thrusts the flowers towards her son, pulling him to hug her again.
"Wait, wait. You have to meet Rachel. She's an amazing singer, she was the green-skinned lady!" he hurries through the crowd and Finn sees him grab hold of Rachel and drags her back towards them, Puck on her heels.
"Mom, Dad, Finn, meet Rachel. Guys, the talented, future star of Broadway, Rachel Berry." Kurt gives a flourished wave as he 'presents' her and her laugh is rich and throaty, her hair messy against her cheek, some green paint still stuck to her face.
She shakes hands with Burt and Carole just pulls her into another hug. "My dear, you were marvellous on stage! Your voice!"
"Thanks. I'm glad you liked the show!" she replies, smile bright and her eyes sparkling.
She turns to him and he holds out the single orchid to her. She gasps and whatever he was about to say disappears at the look on her face. She already has three bouquets in her hand but her face practically lights up at the sight of the flower he offers her.
"You were beautiful on stage." He murmurs.
"Thank you." She says quietly, her eyes meeting his again. He nods, still staring at her when Kurt tugs at her arm to engage her in conversation with Carole again.
Burt sidles up beside him and nudges him with his elbow. "Smooth." He winks.
His ears get hot and he tries to ignore the smirk his stepfather is currently boasting. Puck is shooting him daggers from behind Rachel and he gives him a nervous smile, stepping back just a little.
"We're heading out for dinner, why don't you come with? I'm sure it won't be a problem if you and family would like to join us?" Carole says.
"Oh, um. That's very kind of you, I'll ask."
Rachel shoots him one last look before fighting through the crowd again to get to her fathers. Like two. She has two dads. And Puck. Who's currently giving him the look he uses when he's either about to arrest someone or call his bluff at poker.
He can still see her over the crowd as she points to where his family stands, Carole resting her palm against Kurt's cheek. The dark-skinned man grins broadly and nods, bending down to pick up Sarah in his arms and then the four of them make their way over.
"Mr. and Mrs. Hummel, these are my fathers, Hiram and LeRoy Berry. And this little angel is my cousin, Sarah, Noah's sister."
He stifles a snort because no one really calls Puck by his given name in public. His parents shake hands with Rachel's parents and between the four of them they decide to eat at the restaurant Burt had made reservations at, Kurt reassuring Rachel that they had an excellent vegan menu.
He's sitting beside Kurt across from Rachel and Puck and for the most part he manages to avoid the death glares the other man is throwing at him. Puck is the biggest manwhore he knows and he should know that Finn isn't nowhere half as bad that he is. His last serious relationship, which ended thanks to Puck ironically, was his junior year in college. He'd been on dates, but he wasn't a hit it and quit it man like his friend.
Rachel was awesome. He knew he needed to think of another adjective to describe her but she really was great. She spoke to everyone at the table, getting up briefly to run to Tina who she'd seen coming in with Mike, introduced the girl to everyone at the table before kissing her cheek and promising her to call her tomorrow.
She jokes with her little cousin and teases Puck, she blushes at her father's praise and smiles widely whenever Carole talks to her.
He doesn't say much. He'd prefer to keep his verbal diarrhoea to himself and avoid embarrassment, but he couldn't avoid sneaking several glances at her throughout dinner.
Conversation flows easily amongst his parents and hers, and Hiram and Burt even had some riveting conversation on football, LeRoy and his mother exchange recipes and mutters about heart-healthy diets of their husbands.
He catches her looking at him too, brushing her hair behind her ear so she could peek at him from the corner of her eyes and when Puck accidentally kicks him under the table for the tenth time he glares at the other man until he narrows his eyes and snickers.
Dinner turns into dessert and he finds himself reaching up to tug at the tie around his neck as Rachel shares her chocolate cake with Sarah. She giggles with her cousin, stealing the little girl's fork and pulling the chocolately delight into her mouth, licking the cream off the corners of her lip.
The woman was trying to give him a heart attack.
Either she wasn't aware of his reactions to her or he didn't care but when she chances a look at him again, her entire face blushes red and she drops her hair to curtain her face, fingers shaking as she takes another bite of cake.
When she looks up at him again, he tries to smile, the side of his mouth pulling up and she smiles back, her gaze shy as they watch each other.
He's both glad and annoyed when his father asks for the check, he wants to look at her more, but not with a crowd. He excuses himself and goes to the bathroom, washing his sweaty hands and dabbing his face with water, taking off the godforsaken tie that seems suddenly too tight.
He steps out of the bathroom and walks outside, grateful for the cool air.
"You like my cousin." Puck says, stepping up beside him with a sleeping Sarah in his arms.
"She's kinda awesome, dude. Really." He replies quietly. Puck's a cop. With a gun.
"Really, dude, if by some miracle I do ask her out and she says yes, if I do make a fool of myself, I give you full permission to kick the crap outta me, man."
And he's serious. Two hours just looking and talking with her with his family and hers and he can actually see this same scene five years in the future. Except Rachel is wearing his ring.
"Oh, I plan to. If you break that little woman's heart Huddy, believe me when I say hell would be a vacation for what I would have planned for you." Puck's voice is low and even. And even he's not dumb enough to doubt that he's not completely serious.
"Noah." Rachel calls from behind them and they turn as she hurries up. She looks at him, sharing that smile with him again and bites her lip.
She turns to her cousin. "I told Dad's they could stay at my apartment and I'd stay with you and Sarah. That way they won't have to get up too early. I told him we'd take her back in the evening."
"Sure. I'll go put her in the car, just come out when you guys are ready." He gives Finn a lingering look and strides towards his car.
They stand in silence, the cool summer breeze blowing around them.
"So." He finally says. He likes the silence but he likes her voice more.
"So." She repeats, turning her eyes to him again. He faces her, pleased to see the orchid he gave her now tucked behind her ear. She touches it and blushes prettily.
"It looks good on you."
"So, ahm, will you be in New York for long?"
"Another week. I've just decided to draft into the FDNY."
To be honest he'd only gone to the recruiting station because he was riding along with Mike, who was a paramedic, when he needed to drop something off. He was OK working in Burt's garage back home but he felt fidgety and all the times he's visited Kurt in New York, the city sort of grew on him. He'd had another flash of him living here. And he only just decided that morning, neither his parents, Mike, Puck or even Kurt knew.
Her eyes widened. The chocolate-brown orbs reeling him in and if she'd ask for the moon right now, he'd get it for her.
"A firefighter. That's kind of cool. And dangerous. And sexy." She says, her eyes wide as she nibbles at her bottom lips. He's close enough to see the flecks of gold in her eyes and the beauty mark that rests on her cheek. Her skin is a cool, olive tone, creamy and smooth and he knows if he reaches his hand to her cheek it'd be soft under his fingers. He wants to free her lip from her teeth, and he knows that if he kisses her, she'd taste as sweet as she smells, like sunshine and strawberries. He can already feel her breath brushing across his face and all he has to do is slant his mouth over hers and their lips will press together.
The rest of their dinner party start making their way towards them and they step apart, not sure how they were standing so close. She smiles again before stepping towards his parents, kissing them both goodbye.
Kurt gives him a sly smile, throwing his arms around Rachel as he congratulates her again and promises that they'll go for coffee in the morning.
He's never been a morning person, but if it takes him getting up at the ungodly hours that Kurt does, he'll gladly do it for a chance to see this woman who's managed to ingrain the smell on sunshine and strawberries on his heart.
After just one song. Well, maybe three.
A/N: Yea, fireman!Finn has always been a weak spot for me, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Glee does a calendar, and fireman!Finn, doctor!Artie and paramedic!Mike get starring roles.
First entry in a collection of one shots, not going to be chronological, but Finchel central, every Gleek will be featured. So, how'd I do?